When a patient enters hospice care, it is important to remember that they still have control over their medical decisions. Hospice care is a voluntary service, and patients have the right to revoke it at any time. This means that if a patient feels that hospice care is no longer meeting their needs or if they wish to pursue a different treatment option, they can choose to discontinue hospice services at any time.
Reasons for Revoking Hospice Care:
There can be various reasons why a patient may choose to revoke hospice care. Some common reasons include:
- Improved Health: In some cases, patients may experience a significant improvement in their health condition, making them eligible for other forms of treatment or care. If a patient’s condition improves to the point where they no longer meet the criteria for hospice care, they may choose to revoke the service.
- Change in Goals: Over time, a patient’s goals and priorities may change. They may decide that they want to pursue more aggressive treatment options or explore alternative therapies. In such cases, revoking hospice care allows them to make choices that align with their current goals.
- Personal Preferences: Every individual has unique preferences and beliefs when it comes to their healthcare. If a patient feels that hospice care is not aligned with their personal values or wishes, they have the right to revoke the service and explore other options that better suit their needs.
The Process of Revoking Hospice Care:
Revoking hospice care is a straightforward process that involves open communication between the patient, their family, and the hospice care team. When a patient expresses their desire to revoke hospice care, the hospice team will work closely with them to ensure a smooth transition. This may involve coordinating with other healthcare providers, arranging for necessary medications or treatments, and providing emotional support during this time of change.
How often do people come out of hospice?
When a patient is placed in hospice, the expectation is generally that the person’s life will end within the next six months. The treatment given in hospice is not designed to extend life, but just to provide palliative care so that the patient will be more comfortable, and the quality of life will be improved. Even though the six months figure is given, the average length of time patients spend receiving hospice care is 70 days.
Data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services indicates that in 2014, about 1.3 million patients received hospice care, with about 29 percent of those people having a diagnosis of cancer and the remaining 71 percent another life-limiting disease. Out of the total number of patients, 11 percent were live discharges, and 13 percent survived longer than six months. This survival rate is not really surprising, though, because it is difficult for doctors to accurately predict when someone will succumb to a life-threatening disease.
What are the reasons for a reversal of hospice care?
When a patient is discharged from hospice, it is usually because the person’s health has improved. Some patients go into remission, and because they are no longer terminally ill, they no longer need hospice services. Sometimes, the consistent and personal care provided by hospice, though not intended to be curative, causes an improvement in health. This makes sense, because a hospice team provides medical care to manage symptoms, adjusting medication as necessary, and also provides nutritious meals, social interaction, and emotional and spiritual support. With that level of personal care, people sometimes begin to improve.
However, some patients leave hospice for reasons unrelated to an improvement in health. It could be that the patient is hospitalized or decides to change from one home hospice provider to another. Some patients relocate to another area during the six months of hospice care, and others decide to resume curative treatment, choosing an option like surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy over hospice care. On rare occasions, the home hospice team ends the care because the patient’s household is uncooperative, abusive, or disruptive. Patients are assessed by their doctors at the six month mark, and if the patient is no longer on the decline, he or she is discharged. This is happening with increasing frequency, and hospice care is no longer necessarily a death sentence.
Who decides whether a person should stay in hospice?
As with most hospice-related decisions, the choice to leave hospice care is made by the patients and hospice staff, together. While a decision is made at the six month point whether or not to reverse hospice, based on an assessment of the patient, that assessment is not the only one the patient receives. In fact, the hospice team will regularly evaluate the patient’s health, looking for signs of improvement or decline.
If a patient has been receiving services for six months or longer, and has shown signs of improvement, he or she will probably be discharged from hospice. Additionally, insurance providers typically stop benefits after six months. If a patient is still in decline, the doctor will need to recertify that the person is still terminally ill. Once hospice care has ended, the patient will no longer receive home hospice services.
For Questions about Hospice, Contact Agape Hospice NW
If you are looking for compassionate hospice care for your loved one, Agape Hospice NW is a wonderful option. Accredited by The Joint Commission, Agape strives to help our patients to live the remainder of their lives to the fullest, by improving quality of life not only for our patients but also for their families. The Joint Commission is nationally recognized as the gold standard in health care, and Agape has met the organization’s enhanced requirements for patient safety and quality of care. We provide social workers, spiritual counselors, volunteers, bereavement counselors, and certified hospice aides, all under the direction of a medical director who is responsible for ensuring that the patient’s wishes are honored, and each patient is receiving the highest level of care. We also provide registered nurses experienced in helping during this emotional time, as well as assessing the needs of the patient. For more information about how we can help, call (503) 628-9595 or contact us through our website.